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Luton Borough Council

Figures and financial information




Single figures are words, double figures are figures, so one to nine are written out, 10 upwards are numerals.

When quoting large (four or more digits) numbers, use commas for clarity.
For example: Luton Council has five directorates, 48 councillors and a total of 3,500 employees.

There are some exceptions where you should always use figures:
  • for numbers that include a decimal point, eg 5.75
  • when giving page references, eg see story on page 8
  • for ranges of numbers, eg children aged 8 to 12 months
  • when giving financial information (see ‘Finance’ section on page 5)

Never start a sentence with a numeral. Write the number out in full.
For example: Twenty people attended the meeting to discuss…

You could also rewrite the sentence to avoid the problem.
For example: The meeting, attended by 20 people, discussed…
Use per cent not percent. Percentage is one word.
Always use % with a number over 10 unless it forms the beginning of a sentence (remember, numerals under 10 are spelt out in full).
Avoid using fractions: convert them into decimals or percentages, for example: 70%, rather than 7/10ths.
Where a simple fraction is more appropriate, write it out. 
For example: One third of council employees work in schools.
When quoting a decimal figure less than one, put a 0 in front: 0.75 per cent, not .75 per cent.


  • Use £ and p, not pounds and pence.
    For example: the car park cost £5, NOT the car park cost five pounds.
  • Always spell out whole numbers when in text.
    For example: the bill ran into several hundred pounds.
  • Write millions and billions as £2m, £30bn.
  • Write pounds and pence as £32.25 not £32.25p.
  • When quoting figures, do not include redundant zeroes - £1 not £1.00, 99p not £0.99.
  • When quoting large figures, use the appropriate word rather than a string of zeroes - £2.5m, not £2,500,000, or £5.6bn.
  • Do not use K as an abbreviation for thousand, eg £2,000, not 2K.

These guidelines apply when writing general text. They may not be appropriate if financial information is being presented in a table/spreadsheet format.

Weights and measures

  • Use decimal and metric systems.
  • Use abbreviations with figures and no spaces, such as 4mm, 10.2cm, 100m, 90km, 250gm, 5.5kg.
    Note: use singular, not 4mms or 10.2cms etc.

Download a copy of our style guide

© 2022 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ